Editors' Note: Read Ricardo Maldonado's interview with Randall Mann as part of National Poetry Month.

I Resign

I don’t want any thing
            or person, familiar or strange.
            —John Berryman
Like a lifeboat of easy marks,
like the ions and terror
of unmoving weather,
the moon on the water
a reputation
glaringly deficient,
I resign. I see: the difference
between doubt and democracy
is the time it takes to fan
cabbage for a spy-cam
at the bank. I walked in
like Helen Mirren
(dir. Peter Greenaway)—
smutty, grand, wounded—
in knockoff Gauthier.
I’ve chewed scenery in my day,
a sautoir nestled between
two bolt-on acquisitions.
I was brassy as a day job, hot
as yesterday’s news…
All the reports are of drought
and hate-fucks. Fact is,
one day you’re watching
the submarine races, the next,
duct-taped in the boiler room
of love, all uniform
role-play. So much
ordinary suffering.
Thirty years ago we were twacked
when we danced
to “Feed the World”—
we didn’t feed the ourselves,
much less the world.
But we had fun. There’s a chance
we can have fun again.
Auto-tune is backing us up—
hand me your cup.
I’ve paid my taxes;
I’ve sent my faxes.
I gained a little access.
My version of subversion
is using two
exclamations when none will do,
that time I crimped my hair.
And then the cramped formality,
like a tell. There are moments of
grief standing in for grief.
I arrive only when I leave.
My street is a parklet,
my gym a hospice,
my deregulation
my shell a corporation.
Like a zombie gone
on a violent meditation retreat,
I resign. And if it rains,
when it does, it's not because:
it’s savage as polite applause.